Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Backwards Field Trips" -- The Museum Goes to School

The New York Times notes a trend -- schools are having a hard time finding money (and time) for field trips, so more and more museums (like the Museum of Science in Boston) are traveling to schools.
“Even if they can’t come to the museum, we can bring the excitement of science to the school,” said Ms. Slivensky, one of seven traveling educators at the Boston museum.
So why is this an "Emerging Digital Trend"?
To make up for the decline in visits, many museums are taking their lessons to the classroom, through traveling programs, videoconferencing or computer-based lessons that use their collections as a teaching tool.
The advantage is that students connect with the museum. The challenge is that they're not in the museum, so they don't get a "full immersion" experience.
“It’s such a conundrum to advocate as strongly as possible for the magic of the real thing, but also create greater access using the Web, hoping we aren’t dissuading people from feeling the urgency of coming to see the real thing,” said Dana Baldwin, education director at the Portland Museum of Art in Maine, where school visits dropped more than 40 percent from 2007 to last year.

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